I think this might be answered here, but I'm not quite sure I understand this spell's wording.
I have a monk who focuses on making her actions the most effective, be it dealing the most damage, gaining the best intel beforehand, increasing the odds, or using trickery to avoid a fight altogether.
On that last note, I was considering if Magic Initiate would have an awesome combo to increase her bag of tricks, as Prestidigitation and Minor Illusion are already taken care of, and right now, I am trying to consider how she'd use the Shocking Grasp cantrip:
Lightning springs from your hand to deliver a shock to a creature you try to touch. Make a melee spell attack against the target. You have advantage on the attack roll if the target is wearing armor made of metal. On a hit, the target takes 1d8 lightning damage, and it can't take reactions until the start of its next turn.
From what I read, the player's hand would stop short from actually touching the person, but I know my monk would have to do so intentionally, seeing this as a HUGE missed opportunity. Like Morphius says "Stop trying to hit me and hit me!" so she'd most likely prepare the spell and lash out with every intent to perform an unarmed strike expecting 3 possible results:
- She swings and misses, but the lighting doesn't.
- She swings and hits, but the cantrip is a dud.
- She swings and hits, but also having the lightning shock the enemy a microsecond before.
As far as I can tell, since the spell doesn't state that the target flinches out of the way or that "you failed to touch", I don't see why using this to double the damage on a punch wouldn't be allowed, but I can understand the argument that (in scenario 3) she would end up technically using a spell AND an unarmed attack at the same time (totaling 4 possible hits with 1d8 and 3d4 using 2 ki points).
So I'd like to ask for clarification if "Try to touch" means a guaranteed fail, or it has potential to do even more damage?